New movie revisits infamous '88 Chicago bank heist
A new film about a famous embezzlement scheme in the 1980s draws on a Chicago writer's memories of the city.
Why it matters: The 1988 multimillion-dollar theft inspired the main plot of the film, but "Heist 88" tells a broader story of young, Black Chicagoans trying to get ahead.
What they're saying: "The '80s was a boom, boom time where a lot of money was being made," screenwriter Dwayne Johnson-Cochran, who grew up in South Shore, tells Axios.
- "Black and brown people were trying to find a way to just move up."
Details: "Heist 88" stars Courtney B. Vance, who plays the mastermind behind the heist at the former First National Bank of Chicago.
- It's streaming on Paramount+ and Showtime.
Flashback: Four men, including an employee at the bank, tried to embezzle $70 million from First National and transfer the money into banks in Austria, according to a 1988 Tribune article.
- The plan was quickly foiled as companies, including United Airlines, noticed the overdrafts in their transaction sheets.
Johnson-Cochran knew people at the time who worked at the bank, and he covered the story as a producer at WTTW.
- He tells Axios he wanted to write the film because he gravitates to stories about "people [who] don't have a lot [and are] trying to achieve more" and those who try to disrupt them.
Of note: Pay attention to the subplot about Chicago as the birthplace of house music, which Johnson-Cochran wanted to include as a nod to his own memories of the scene.
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